Help for Single Mothers in WISCONSIN

Wisconsin, WI

Across the nation, families are struggling to get ahead, particularly single mothers who are caught in the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. To alleviate their plight, the state of Wisconsin is taking positive steps to provide assistance programs that ease their financial burdens.

Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit #

Wisconsin was among the first states to adopt an EITC program, offering working families with at least one qualifying child a percentage refund of the taxes they pay.

Wisconsin’s EITC is calculated based on a percentage of the federal credit for which filers are eligible and varies depending on the number of qualifying children.

For example, for workers with three or more children, the Wisconsin ETIC equals 34% of the federal ETIC or about $2,526 in tax credit. A filer in Wisconsin without dependent children is not eligible for the state EITC.

1 4%
2 11%
3 or more 34%

Wisconsin Works (W-2) #

Wisconsin Works (W-2) is one of Wisconsin’s time-limited work-based programs available to low-income parents and pregnant women who meet eligibility requirements. The primary goal of the Wisconsin Works (W-2) is self sufficiency.

The program offers W-2 participants cash payments of up to $653 per month for participating in job training and employment programs.

How do I get my W2 in Wisconsin?

Application for W-2 can be made in person at the local W-2 Agency or online via ACCESS website. An interactive interview is also provided at the ACCESS website to help you determine if you might be eligible for W-2.

FoodShare Wisconsin #

FoodShare Wisconsin provides monthly benefits to families with limited income to help pay for the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet.

Anyone is eligible but the program is designed to help those who need food assistance most. Single mothers living on small or fixed income, the elderly, people with disabilities are given highest priority.

Benefit levels vary from family to family. For example, a family of three in Wisconsin with no income may receive up to $740 in monthly benefits.

How do I sign up for FoodShare in Wisconsin?

To apply for FoodShare, visit ACCESS website. Choose “Apply for Benefits”. This is the fastest and easiest way to apply for SNAP benefits in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Shares #

Wisconsin’s Child Care Subsidy Program — known as Wisconsin Shares, helps low-income working families pay for child care. If the parent is eligible, child care can be subsidized for children under the age of 13 (up to 19 if special needs).

The program pays for part of the child care costs, and the remaining cost is co-paid by the parent. The co-payment can be as low as 2% of the family’s gross income.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Wisconsin?

To become eligible, the family’s gross monthly income must not be more than 200% of the federal poverty level at the time of initial application.

For example, for a family of three, with one parent and two children, earning less than $4,143 would be found financially eligible.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 2 $3,287
  • 3 $4,143
  • 4 $5,000
  • 5 $5,857
  • 6 $6,713
  • 7 $7,570
  • 8 $8,427

How do I apply for child care assistance in Wisconsin?

You may apply online at or apply in person at any W-2 agency near you. Either way, you'll have to go through a phone interview to determine your eligibility.

Wisconsin Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #

Wisconsin WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin with a household income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level, and be individually determined to be “at risk of malnutrition” by a health professional.

What is the income limit for WIC in Wisconsin?

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,248
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

How do I sign up for WIC in Wisconsin?

To apply for WIC benefits, contact a local WIC office near you. If you are eligible, you will receive an eWIC card to purchase specific healthy foods at the grocery store.

To find out more about WIC and other programs for which you may be eligible, call toll-free 1-800-722-2295, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wisconsin BadgerCare Plus #

BadgerCare Plus offers free or low-cost health care coverage to eligible adults, children and families in Wisconsin as well as pregnant women.

BadgerCare Plus covers types of health care services such as:

  • Basic medical needs
  • Mental health
  • Care in certain settings
  • Assisted living
  • Pregnancy and family planning

To find out more about coverage for a specific service and copay, please follow this link.

What is the income limit for Medicaid in Wisconsin?

Among a few remaining non-expansion states, Wisconsin is one of the only two states that provides full Medicaid coverage to parents and adults with incomes up to the poverty threshold.

BadgerCare Plus covers adults with incomes at or below 100% of the poverty threshold and up to 306% FPL for pregnant women and children under the age of 19.

BadgerCare Plus 306% 306% 100%
1 $44,610 $44,610 $14,580
2 $60,340 $60,340 $19,720
3 $76,070 $76,070 $24,860
4 $91,800 $91,800 $30,000
5 $107,530 $107,530 $35,140
6 $123,260 $123,260 $40,280
7 $138,990 $138,990 $45,420
8 $154,710 $154,710 $50,560

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

If you are not eligible for BadgerCare Plus, you may have other coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Wisconsin Housing Choice Voucher Program #

Wisconsin Housing Choice Voucher Program helps Wisconsin families with very low to extremely low incomes rent decent, safe, and affordable housing of their choice.

Eligible families pay between 30-40% of their income for rent. The balance is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

How do I apply for Section 8 housing in Wisconsin?

WHEDA does not distribute vouchers or accept applications in their office. All applications are handled by the appointed agencies. Please refer to the agent list here.

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) #

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) provides assistance to low-income households across the state to help lower the burden incurred with monthly energy costs.

WHEAP assistance is a one-time payment during the heating season (October 1—May 15) that pays a portion of the heating costs — up to a maximum of $1,518 per household.

In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:

  • Emergency fuel assistance,
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets,
  • Pro-active co payment plans,
  • Targeted outreach services,
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

How do I apply for fuel assistance in Wisconsin?

To be eligible for WHEAP, the household income must not exceed 60% of the median income in the state. Application can be made in-person through the local WHEAP agency or apply online via

For more information on how to apply or to locate your local agency, please call 1-866-432-8947.

Wisconsin Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) #

Wisconsin LIHWAP offers one-time emergency assistance up to $1,000 to help qualified households pay their residential water and wastewater past due utility bills.

Households that meet the WHEAP income eligibility requirements are also deemed as categorically income-eligible for LIHWAP assistance. Priority is given to households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 6.

How do I get help with my water bill in Wisconsin?

If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills and need help, please call 833-426-9472 to directly connect with a LIHWAP eligibility specialist.

Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance #

Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance (UI) provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own.

It is intended to provide a safety net to eligible workers and their families during times of unemployment.

As a condition of eligibility, you must have earned sufficient wages in the year to 18 months prior to filing your claim.

You are also required to register with Job Center of Wisconsin and actively seek suitable employment each week that you are collecting benefits.

How much is unemployment benefits in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the weekly benefit amount is about 4% of the wages you were paid during the highest-paid quarter in a recent 52-week period of time — up to a maximum of $370.

The Department of Workforce Development has an online weekly benefit rate calculator to calculate an estimate of what you might receive in benefits.

How do I apply for unemployment in Wisconsin?

If you have become unemployed or partially unemployed, apply for unemployment benefits online through

If you can't file online, you can call a claims specialist at 414-435-7069 or 844-910-366 during business hours.

Wisconsin Tuition Grant #

Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) provides grant assistance — up to $3,150, to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents attending a non-profit college or university in Wisconsin.

To be considered for this grant, you must complete the FAFSA each year by April 1st. Selection is based upon financial need with a limit of 10 semesters of eligibility.

Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant #

Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant provides grant assistance to the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin.

Initial awards to first-time freshman students range from $600 to $1,800 per year and are awarded on a first come first served basis until funds are depleted.

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